The effect of alcohol on your body and on your performance

How did Dryanuary go?

Whether you managed to avoid alcohol for a few extra days when compared to normal, or you managed the whole month, your body will thank you for it. Have you noticed a difference in how you feel?

Here are some of the ways that alcohol can affect your body and your performance:

Decreased performance: decreased attention span, reaction time, reduced energy levels, concentration and focus.

Disrupted sleep: you might think alcohol makes you sleep better, but that’s simply not true. if your sleep cycle gets disrupted you may not be able to store glycogen effectively (needed for endurance) and there will  be an increase in cortisol levels (stress hormone). Cortisol reduces human growth hormone which is vital to the developing and repairing of muscle tissue

Dehydration: alcohol is a diuretic, and, if you are dehydrated you run a greater risk of injury, cramps and strains. Dehydration can also cause a build-up of waste products such as lactic acid, blood may thicken, and nutrients will take longer to reach muscles. Reduced blood flow to the muscles can cause deterioration over time.

Nutrition: nutrition can suffer when you've been drinking, we make poor food decisions and don’t fuel our bodies properly. Alcohol consumption can also prevent nutrients being absorbed into the body. Poor fuelling = poor performance.

Increase in risk of getting injured: you can become more prone to injuries and the body will be less able to recover quickly. Recent research has illustrated the effect of alcohol on skeletal muscle. Alcohol can prevent skeletal muscles recovering and growing, and therefore increase the risk of injury and extends recovery periods.

Build-up of fats: alcohol can cause fats to build up in the bloodstream, increased fat deposits and fluid retention. All of which impact upon performance.

Masking pain: alcohol can mask pain by affecting the nerve endings, pain is often there for a reason. Don’t ignore it.

We all like a drink or two, but our advice would be everything in moderation. A few drinks won’t send you off course, but too many drinks could wipe out the effects of months of training. Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours before a game or event, and make sure you re-hydrate fully both before and after.

Alcohol should be avoided by those who are suffering with an injury as research has shown that alcohol affects the body’s ability to recover and heal.

Food is fuel. Eat your fruit and veg. Drink more water. Sounds obvious but it works!

Sports massage can help flush out toxins and aid recovery. Contact us to find out more.